Vegan Collagen – What you need to know

By Imogen Allen (Quality Assurance Specialist  BSc Hons Nutrition and Food Science)

In our previous blog[1], the differences between the various forms of collagen were explored with a particular focus on marine and fish types. Here, vegan collagen will be discussed in more depth.

What is Collagen? 

Collagen is a protein formed of long-chain amino acids and is responsible for the structure, function and mechanical properties of the epidermis, cartilage and tendons[2]. It is the largest protein in the extracellular matrix and it gives your skin its structure, elasticity as well as that youthful “bounce”[3].

Not surprisingly, collagen is not exclusive to humans; it is the single most abundant protein in the animal kingdom[4] and there are many different kinds (at least 16) which vary in presence between different species. The most important take-away though is that, regardless of type, they all serve the same purpose: to help tissues withstand stretching.

Whilst, of course, the wrinkling process is multifactorial, the slowing down of collagen production and the speed up of collagen breakdown with age (due to UV-light exposure) are key factors [5]. Fortunately, however, their impacts can be minimised by religiously wearing sun cream with a high SPF factor, anti-wrinkle cream and now many individuals are even starting to pop collagen supplements, derived from the bones and skin of animals[6].

Mens Skin Care Crem

What is Vegan Collagen?

Unfortunately, plants do not grow their own collagen. That said, it is exciting to see advancements in science and in recent news it has been reported that researchers have created some genetically modified collagen, using the bacteria P.pastoris[7].

However, what is commercially available, is our Nutraceuticals Base Blend composed of the many amino acids found in fish/bovine collagen (see Table 1) in combination with a number of vitamins, minerals, and herbals as well as sodium hyaluronate which may promote collagen production or optimize skin health generally (see Table 2).

Table 1  – Amino Acids in Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative 


L-Glycine Vegan


L-Proline Vegan Fermented


L-Hydroxyproline Vegan Fermented


L-Glutamic Acid Vegan Fermented


L-Alanine Vegan Fermented


L-Arginine Base Vegan Fermented


D-Aspartic Acid (DAA) Vegan


L-Lysine HCl Vegan Fermented


L-Serine Vegan Fermented


L-Leucine Vegan Fermented Instantised


L-Valine Vegan Fermented Instantised


L-Phenylalanine Vegan Fermented


L-Threonine Vegan Fermented


L-Isoleucine Vegan Fermented Instantised


L-Histidine Base Vegan Fermented


L-Tyrosine Vegan Fermented

Table 2  – Herbals, Vitamins, Minerals and Sodium Hyaluronate in Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative 


Acerola Cherry Fruit Juice Extract 17% Natural Vitamin C (Malpighia glabra) (Pale)


Copper Gluconate Anhydrous Nutrition Grade (~13% Cu)


Trimanganese Citrate Decahydrate Nutrition Grade (~22% Mn)


Irish Sea Moss Extract 4:1 (Carrageen Moss) (Chondrus crispus)


Tremella Fuciformis (Snow Fungus) Fruiting Body Extract 20% Polysaccharide (Tremella fuciformis) ##


Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate) Vegan Fermented MW 0.8-1.5×106 Nutrition Grade


It may not seem immediately obvious as to why the other vitamins, minerals and herbals e.t.c. are included so let us explain…

Happy Cow

Vitamins and Minerals

Ascorbic acid has been incorporated because it is an essential co-factor for the enzymes involved in collagen biosynthesis, namely lysyl hydroxylase and prolyl hydroxylase [8]. The reason Nutraceuticals have included Acerola Cherry Fruit Juice Extract specifically is because it is one of the richest natural sources of this vitamin. Furthermore, it contains a plethora of phytonutrients like carotenoids, phenolics, anthocyanins and flavonoids which all have widely known anti-ageing properties[9].

Minerals including Copper Gluconate Anhydrous Nutrition Grade (~13% Cu) as well as Tri-manganese Citrate Decahydrate Nutrition Grade (~22% Mn) are also added for three reasons:

  1. Because manganese is required to produce the amino acid, proline, which is essential for collagen formation[10],
  2. Because copper, is known to activate enzyme lysyl oxidase which helps catalyse cross link formation between collagen polypeptide strains[11]; and
  3. Because EFSA have authorised the following claims[12] based on strong scientific evidence in this area:

“Copper contributes to maintenance of normal connective tissues”;

“Manganese contributes to the normal formation of connective tissue”

Therefore, if your final product contains enough of our blend and these minerals to meet the “source of” nutritional claim criteria (set out in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006), this health messaging can also be used on packaging and marketing.

Sodium Hyaluronate

This sodium salt of hyaluronic acid is incorporated as it is a glycosaminoglycan found in human connective tissue and there is evidence that it has anti-aging properties that can inhibit skin wrinkles and improve skin condition[13]. This is attributed to its ability to increase skin moisture which is why taking sodium hyaluronate may also be recommended for patients with dry skin[14].

Tremella Fuciformis

Tremella, occasionally referred to as “plant collagen” in industry, is an edible mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It has been included because whilst its protective mechanism is uncertain, many studies have revealed it to have several pharmacological activities, including anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antitumor, and anti-aging effects[15].

Irish Sea Moss

Finally, whilst its benefits are yet to be extensively researched, Irish Sea Moss has been included as it is packed with anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory nutrients including magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids which hydrate and promote healthy skin function[16].

Which is better?

Most importantly, you probably want to know which is better: vegan or non-vegan collagen. As there are yet to be any comparative studies, this is a difficult question to answer with certainty from a skin health perspective. However, we can assure you it is certainly better from a sustainability and animal welfare viewpoint. Whilst collagen is derived from animal wastes, buying it still funds the meat, dairy, and fishing industries and there is strong evidence that a vegan lifestyle is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth[17].




















NBlend – NGEBBBVC02a – Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative Connective Tissue Claims


NBlend – NGEBBBVC01a – Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative